They may be young and inexperienced, but the Riverside Brookfield girls basketball team is currently undefeated at 2-0 in the Metro Suburban Conference.
The Bulldogs enjoyed a perfect week of basketball, cruising to a 52-36 win against Ridgewood on Friday and a 51-42 win over Elmwood Park earlier in the week. The wins place RB at 4-2 overall.
“We really started the season well,” said RB head coach Larry Rocco. “The girls really work hard and I see improvement every game. We only had two starters return from last year, so we have a big learning curve, but the girls have a great work ethic.”
The Bulldogs were positively workmanlike in their defeat of conference foe Ridgewood. The team displayed tenacious defense in the first half, limiting the Rebels to just nine points for a commanding 32-9 lead at the half. The second half was a carbon copy of the first, with the Bulldogs once again clamping down on Ridgewood, while coasting offensively. Sophomore center Fallon Ryan paced the Bulldogs with 14 points, while Rachel Buccieri and Regan Riley both added 10 points.
“We came out and played good defense right away,” Rocco said. “Ridgewood has two very good offensive players, so for us to hold them to nine points in the first half is a great effort. Offensively, we really were clicking too. McCloskey and Buccieri got Ryan the ball down low and she did the rest.”
It is the team effort this season that has pleased Rocco the most. It seems every game he has somebody new step up. Rocco has Buccieri in the backcourt, while Fallon is becoming a force inside. Plus, he has seen Riley pick up her scoring as well. The Bulldogs’ bench has also been a major contributor, with Emily Chapman, April Hutchens and Shaquita Slater all giving quality minutes, according to Rocco. Still, Rocco believes things won’t be easy in the league, with two more games against Elmwood Park and the series opener looming against Fenton this Friday.
“Elmwood Park and Fenton both return very experienced teams, so the quicker we mature the better,” he said. “This week, we have a big conference game against Fenton. They return their entire team from a year ago, so we will have our work cut out for us.
We will need to rebound and contain their scorers. Plus, they have a good post player and guard, so we will have to do a good job on boards and handle their pressure. One thing is for sure, it will be a great game.”